“We’re three friends who really believed in each other’s talents,” says Anna (right), looking back on the renovation. “I don’t have a design background, while the others do. I was so chuffed they let me have such a say in it.” Whinnie is pictured on the left and Emma in the center.
One summer day in 2020, travel journalist Anna Hart ’s phone lit up with a WhatsApp message from two friends. “We wanted to see if you’re up for a li’l weird business venture,” it read. “Wanna buy a caravan together and make it into a kitsch holiday home of dreams?” Anna’s answer followed almost instantly. She was in.
It was the birth of Club Jupiter, a caravan turned Airbnb just outside Margate, a coastal town two hours east of London. Stuck at home with design projects on hold and travel at a standstill, the trio—Anna, art consultant Emma Jane Palin , and interior designer Whinnie Williams —chipped in £8,000 each (approximately $11,000) to buy a preloved 2010 Willerby BK Bluebird caravan. “She was very beige, but we instantly knew we loved her,” Anna says.
BEFORE: “The caravan was perfectly acceptable when we bought it,” says Anna of the preloved 2010 Willerby BK Bluebird. “But it wasn’t the kind of place you’d see on the pages of say, Condé Nast Traveler . Or that people like us would want to stay in.”
AFTER: The couch, upholstered in Poodle & Blonde velvet, was given a brass-like base with adhesive metallic film. With the help of a set-design company, the owners also built a Modernist-looking faux fireplace that, according to Anna, “felt very Palm Springs.” The dining table is an upcycled Habitat table found on Facebook Marketplace.
As the friends initially bonded over a shared love for midcentury modern and retro design, settling on a theme for the renovation was easy. “We wanted a sort of budget 1970s Palm Springs vibe,” says Anna. The mood board included snapshots from her last pre-pandemic trip to Palm Springs Modernism Week, during which she toured the home of Frank Sinatra, as well as Elvis Presley’s honeymoon hideaway. Inspiration also came from Anna and Whinnie’s stay at the Ball-Paylore House in Tucson, Arizona, designed by architect Arthur T. Brown for two female librarians who each wanted identical bedrooms and a shared living space (“The most fabulous expression of female friendship,” the trio shared on their Instagram ).
The bulk of the renovation work didn’t kick off until March of this year, when the women stripped the living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms of their original fixtures. The ceiling (bland and off-white) was covered with stained wood, while the floor was replaced with a Marmoleum checkerboard pattern. But not everything had to go. “We really loved the original curved sofa,” Anna says. “It’s a British caravan icon—a large space for everyone to sit when it rains outside.” They had it upholstered with fabric from Whinnie’s interior brand Poodle & Blonde and created a clever storage space underneath.